There is a quiet sense of urgency to get the finishing touches onto barricades, banners and other assorted details, the overall mood is very laid back. There is a quiet tranquility that seems intent on becoming the mood of the weekend.
The early arrivals are already riding the brand new dirt park of cuts, banked turns and jumps. The extreme mountain bikers are catching serious air on the brand new and expanded Sinister Dirt Jump area but, there is still no more rush than is neccessary to accelerate the rider and bike into 15 or more feet of air. A relaxed aura permeates the entire campgrounds.
Rich Fries and his associate from the Pedros booth are pumping out rock music and announcements pretty much non-stop but, strangely it fits and somehow the rock music itself is more laid back and, dare it be said, serene. It is almost as though the towers of speakers understand and do not wish to disrupt the peace.
The folks in vendors row, merchants and attendees are casual and easy going. The vendors are putting finishing touches on their booths (in many cases since 6:00 AM or earlier) and holding lengthy conversations with passersby. By tomorrow at this time they will not have time to breathe, much less chat casually but for now casual is in.
Bill Sebell from Earth Wind and Rider spent some time talking about his premium wool jerseys. Obviously a totally natural product, the wool itself sheds moisture in a way that defeats body odor and the styling of the clothes make it perfect for the transition from bike to office to coffee shop. The conversation was pleasant and laid back, precisely what Pedros is all about. Enjoying sometime outdoors, with like minded people.
Sharon Cowdery of WTB proudly explained the road rash scar displayed on her right shoulder where we shared a laugh in a scene reminiscent of "2 Seconds" in which the athletes compare their "war wounds". It is just that kind of an event, the fun and laughs come first before we settle down to the shop talk. WTB is a component and accessory manufacturer best know for their mountain bike related products, saddles, stems and tires. Like so many of the vendors, their saddles are available for loan and try out.
This is in large part what the core of Pedros Festival is about, trying things for the first time. Seeing the latest and greatest products, the new of the new. It is also about trying out activities you've never before attempted. Every hour or so there are riders heading out for a clinic or a beginner ride, trying some different kind of fun on two wheels.
But it is also reacquainting with old friends as well, some of whom we meet for the first time. For instance, Edwin Bull from Van Dessel who we met here for the first time has been a frequent guest on PPOL News, the press release side of Pedal Pushers Online. He is here with his beautiful,full ranging bikes of every style - purpose built and elegant, Van Dessel is now reaching toward producing more mid-range and entry level offerings for newer athletes.
Amidst the vendors there is another entirely separate series of activities that occur around and within the vendors booths. The wide aisles are filled with bike contests, riders scream through the air in their hard tail and suspension mountain bikes in the bunny hop contest a perennial favorite at Pedrosfest. Guaranteed to draw the biggest crowd of spectators on any given day, the competition is intense but again, there is a tinge of friendliness that pervades even the most intense rivalry.
This year the defending champion was unseated and a new prince of bunny hop was crowned. For today at least, tomorrow is another day. Also held in the vendor area the sticker ride and the bike limbo are regular favorites for the younger crowd. The Kenda Tire toss fills in with a wide range of ages and skill levels, as the riders pass a cone in an oval route they attempt to lasso it with a Kenda Tire, this event was held in spite of the pouring rain.
Did I mention the rain? Actually it is really easy to forget particularly since nobody appeared to notice the fact that it was raining. Once you couldn't see across the pond through the deluge, some folks did begin thinking about calling it a day for a while but, until then it was simply business as usual. All the activities continued unabated. And some new ones started, namely an impromptu session of free style swim in the lake, the slip and slide rolled out and was immediately brought into use. The Sinister Bike Jump, undoubtedly the most continuously used feature of the festival, the mud only increased the fun.
Any day at Pedros Mountain Bike Festival is a day in the Sun, even when it rains.